Power outpaces the field to take St. Pete pole

Will Power earned the pole position for Sunday's St. Petersburg Grand Prix with a lap at the blistering pace of 105.190 mph (1:01.6026) on the tight confines of the 1.8-mile, 14 turn street circuit. Power was favored for the pole after topping...

Will Power earned the pole position for Sunday's St. Petersburg Grand Prix with a lap at the blistering pace of 105.190 mph (1:01.6026) on the tight confines of the 1.8-mile, 14 turn street circuit.

Power was favored for the pole after topping both practice sessions on Friday. He ended the first day of practice more than seven-tenths of a second faster than Scott Dixon, his nearest competitor.

Power didn't save his best for last as his fastest lap (1:01.4816) was set during the second round of qualifying. He still went on to claim his third IndyCar Series pole.

"It's a good weekend so far for Verizon Team Penske," Power said. "We're still at the front, and so I'm very happy. We would have been disappointed if we didn't given our pace this weekend."

Tony Kanaan will start alongside Power on the front row, his best starting position on a road/street circuit since earning the pole at St. Petersburg in 2008. "It feels good," said Kanaan. "I haven't started in a while, actually, on the front row. I think we did a great job."

Kanaan was running in the top five at the season opener in Sao Paulo when he was taken out in an accident that was no fault of his own. "Hopefully no one had hits me from behind like in Brazil," Kanaan said, "and we will be able to have a good race tomorrow."

Scott Dixon and Justin Wilson will share the second row. While Dixon will make his 34th consecutive top-10 start, a series record, his Target Ganassi teammate Dario Franchitti missed the Firestone Fast Six for the first time.

"We had a good run, and the car didn't slow down at all," Franchitti said. "Briscoe had some problems of his own, and I caught him in Turn 8 and got held up. That was unfortunate. The guys made some great changes to the car, and we were pretty quick after the crash in practice yesterday."

Franchitti will start 13th, his worst start on a road or street circuit since he qualifying 21st in 2005 at Infineon.

Ryan Briscoe qualified 19th, marking his worst start on a road or street circuit. "We were the first car to go out on red tires and then we went to blacks, and it was really just bad timing," Briscoe reported. "The track got quite a bit quicker, and we needed to be on reds at the end of the session. It's a bit disappointing as the Team Penske car has been fast all weekend and we have a good car for the race, but we're going to be starting from farther back than we should be. We'll be all right. I have a great crew and the best race strategist there is. We just have to avoid any first-lap accidents, and we should be able to have a solid race."

Helio Castroneves knocked Ryan Hunter-Reay out of the Firestone Fast Six session on his last lap of Q2. Castroneves improved his starting position in Fast Six but not his lap time. Marco Andretti will start sixth.

Hunter-Reay wasn't pleased with his seventh place starting position, especially after turning solid laps in practice. "We're disappointed with seventh, and that means the IZOD team has a pretty strong effort going. We missed out on making the Firestone Fast Six by just thousandths of a second (0.0013) and missed being in the top three by half-a-tenth. It's just ridiculously close, and that's the way I felt it would be. We'll go out and do what we did in Brazil. We'll do a good solid race, the guys will do great stops and we'll work our way to the front. The Andretti cars are obviously strong; Marco and Tony are right up there with us, and that is good to see."

Hunter-Reay finished second to Will Power at the season opener after a late race pass.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Ryan Briscoe , Marco Andretti , Will Power
Teams Team Penske